2021 marks 50 years for the leading Australian trade supplier of parts, tools, accessories and workshop equipment

Darryl Abotomey

The Burson Auto Parts success story started in 1971, when company founders Ron Burgoine (the “Bur” in Burson) and Garry Johnson (the “Son” in Burson) began selling auto parts to Victorian automotive workshops from the boots of their cars. The entrepreneurial duo progressed to larger and more heavily stocked cash vans as they gained a loyal and growing set of trade customers across the state.
The first Burson Auto Parts distribution store was opened in the Melbourne suburb of Braybrook in 1978 and this heralded the start of a gradual period of solid growth for the small company, who were taking on more established spare parts suppliers and succeeding across Victoria. A significant sign of this growth was the 1984 establishment of the first Burson Auto Parts interstate store located in Albury (NSW).
In 1986, Garry Johnson bought out his partner and was overseeing a strongly performing 15 store network by the following year with an emphasis on supplying premium quality products and ensuring supply of locally and globally sourced leading brands.
The company’s steady organic growth continued and by 1996 the 25th Burson Auto Parts store was opened. Demand from the trade grew to the point the company established a new, purpose built head office and 15,000 square metre distribution centre in the Melbourne suburb of Preston.
In the following three years a further 16 stores were added to the Burson Auto Parts network in New South Wales, along with a strong expansion into Queensland when the company acquired 11 Coventry Group stores. The combination of store acquisitions and greenfield Burson Auto Parts locations which followed saw the company reach the milestone of 50 stores in 2004.
The Australian company’s impressive growth continued, identifying key geographical areas of automotive repairer business concentration. Five additional New South Wales stores joined the network in 2006 and the next four years saw the opening of the Northern Territory’s first Burson Auto Parts store along with a further 11 South Australian store locations.

By 2011, with more than 80 nationally located Burson Auto Parts stores in the network, the company’s growth had been personally led and crafted by company founder Garry Johnson across four decades. Johnson’s small executive management team included Chief Operating Officer Andrew Schram, who spent a staggering 34 years by his side, having started in the role of Assistant Store Manager at the first ever Burson Auto Parts store in Braybrook.
The time had come to commence the next phase and Burson Auto Parts was acquired from Johnson by Darryl Abotomey and the management team backed by Quadrant Private Equity in October 2011 with a goal to make Burson Auto Parts the number one national automotive aftermarket supplier to the trade.
True to this mission and under the new leadership of Darryl, another major milestone was achieved with the opening of the 100th Burson Auto Parts store in May 2012. In the following year, the company acquired the Brisbane based Precision Auto Spares Group, adding another four stores to the network accompanied by the opening of an additional eight stores across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
April 2014 saw Burson Auto Parts become a publicly listed company, making its debut on the Australian Stock Exchange as Burson Group Limited. The company’s long term, well proven performance made it a highly desired investment, enabling this local company to achieve unprecedented levels of growth and continued success.
By 2015, Burson Auto Parts had become truly national, with stores located in every Australian state and territory, with the addition of an 8,000 square metre Brisbane based distribution centre to ensure greater interstate store stocking efficiency.
Following the company’s highly successful public listing, July 2015 saw the company take its most exciting step to date with the acquisition of Metcash Automotive Holdings.
In line with the company’s exciting future growth plans, in 2016 Burson Group Limited became Bapcor Limited (ASX:BAP), an acronym of Burson Auto Parts, establishing a new corporate identity that covers Burson Auto Parts and all of the new business segments of the group.

At this point the company began an exciting expansion into Asia, opening the first Burson Auto Parts store in Thailand. A further five Burson Auto Parts stores have joined the Thailand network to date as the company continues to organically grow in the region.
The next four years saw a number of major Bapcor acquisitions substantially increase the Burson Auto Parts automotive component and equipment product range, while growing the company’s light and heavy commercial vehicle parts portfolio.
Precision Automotive Equipment, Bearing Wholesalers, Roadsafe Automotive Products, Baxters Auto Electrical and MTQ Engine Systems joined the Bapcor fold in 2016. Tricor Engineering, AADi Australia, Commercial Truck Parts Group, Toperformance Products, Truckline and Diesel Drive also became a part of the Bapcor Group. In 2017 Bapcor acquired the publicly listed Hellaby business in New Zealand which included BNT, a New Zealand trade focussed business similar to Burson, as well as specialist wholesale businesses in Australia including JAS, PAT, Diesel Distributors and Federal Batteries.
Burson Auto Parts reached 190 stores in October 2020 and the company is on track to reach 200 stores within this financial year and 240 stores within the next five years.
Alongside the company’s continued commitment to the trade with Burson Auto Parts, Bapcor says it has an unparalleled footprint of trade, specialist wholesale and retail segments across more than 1,100 locations in Australia and New Zealand.
The Burson Auto Parts’ Golden Anniversary will be celebrated through a number of exciting trade promotions and events throughout 2021.

For more on Burson Auto Parts, visit www.burson.com.au